In many cases, without the injured worker’s knowledge, insurance companies hire private investigators to follow the injured worker and conduct video surveillance over a period of several days. Often these private investigators will use vans and sit outside an injured worker’s home, waiting to follow the worker in an attempt to video behavior or activity that could indicate that the worker is not being truthful about his or her inability to work. This video is will then be used at the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission to “cut off” benefits—sometimes totally unfairly.
The injured worker should constantly be on the guard for these private investigators. If an injured worker is in public—they should consider the possibly of video surveillance.
What is the secret? First, I always advise my clients to contact the police if they think they are being followed or observed by a private investigator. My feeling is that just because a worker has suffered an injury at work and is collecting benefits, does not give the insurance company the right to harass the worker. Always fight back by calling the police and making police reports. Encourage the police to arrest the private investigators for harassment, stalking or, if possible, trespassing. In addition, I would attempt to have the private investigator arrested under the Illinois Eavesdropping Act—a copy of the law is here. This law makes it illegal for anyone, including an insurance private investigator, to record a conversation. I would push the police to investigate if a recording of a conversation has taken place—after all, the investigator is clearly recording. Very few lawyers and few police know about this law. You must educate the police—show them the law—and push them to investigate and arrest the private investigators.
If you make it difficult to video your movements, they will usually give up—mostly because they understand that once you know that you are being followed for video, you are not likely to do anything that will jeopardize your case.